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Colin Clark

Colin Clark came to Alberta from New Zealand late in 1942 to train in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). After completing service flying training at No. 3 Service Flying Training School (SFTS), Calgary, he went on to Flight Instructor School (FIS) in Vulcan. The following excerpt highlights just a few of the many fond memories Colin Clark has from his time in Alberta.

Across the Pacific on the "Day Star"
I have a kaleidoscope of memories from my stay in Calgary: my first Canadian Christmas at the Patterson's home on rolling hillsides near the Bow River; Jimmie's Corner on 8th Avenue, where we waited in the warmth of the drugstore for the streetcar to take us back to camp; a weekend at Banff where we tried cross-country skiing on Lake Louise trail and finished in a snowdrift at the bottom of a slope; an ice-hockey game where the Newzies and Aussies provided an interlude in a contest using broomsticks and a basketball; the Palliser Hotel, where we held our Wings Banquet and a group of us, foolishly, tried unsuccessfully to hang a skull and crossbones flag from the mast (we were more successful with the flag mast on the parade ground back at camp, but fortunately someone more sober removed it before it was seen by the authorities).

I remember, too, the street cars with seats heated by pipes connected to a small boiler stove which the driver stoked from time to time. And, there was the visit we paid to the Dinosaur Park where my good pal Dick Fergusson posed for my camera while apparently being eaten by a manmade concrete monster. Sadly, it may have been prophetic, for Fergie was later killed by another manmade monster—the war over Europe.

I remember little of my stay at Vulcan. We saw very little of the townsfolk, as the aerodrome 8th Ave. in Calgary, Alberta during the big Freeze.was about four miles from town, and we had no reason to visit. I do recall, however, how I enjoyed flying the small, single-engine Cornell, which was fully acrobatic, although rather underpowered. The station was jokingly nicknamed "Vulcatraz" or "Vultures gulch". Those who trained there were said to have been "Vulcanised". My diary tells me that our passing-out ceremony was attended by the Earl of Athlone, who was Governor General of Canada, but I have only a hazy recollection of his presence.

It all happened nearly 60 years ago. I often thought that during the intervening years I would like to revisit Calgary, but I doubt that I would recognize much in the mega-city that it has grown into. Perhaps it is better just to hold on to one's memories of what once used to be.

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